Int’l body expresses concern over internet shutdowns
A global organisation of mobile ecosystem, Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), has expressed concern over the shutdown of broadband internet in Pakistan.
According to Express News, in an emergency letter to Federal Minister of Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haq, the GSMA has pressed the government to put an end to internet disruptions.
The mobile broadband services have remained suspended for a consecutive fourth day in several parts of the country in the aftermath of the riots triggered by the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on May 9.
Condemning the decision to suspend internet services, the international organisation has said that the suspensions have impacted both consumers and businesses alike.
Prolonged internet outages are causing problems for citizens’ health, education, social and economic well-being, and business and investment in the telecom sector have been severely affected, the GSMA reportedly said.
Read Businesses, civil society condemn internet disruption in Pakistan
The global mobile ecosystem organisation also stressed that the disruptions are affecting the investment and economic management measures for Pakistan.
It urged the government to proceed with such measures with caution and restrict shutdowns to only unavoidable circumstances, in accordance with relevant laws, most notably, the International Human Rights Convention and the ITU Constitution.
It may be noted here that the disruptions to internet services have caused a loss of at least Rs1.6 billion to telecom companies, while the government has suffered a loss of Rs570 million in revenue from telecom companies as well.
The suspension is affecting e-commerce, online services, home delivery and ride-hailing apps too.
The matter is also pending before the Lahore High Court and the court has sought replies from the federal government and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) by May 22 in a plea seeking directions to restore the internet services and resume the operations of social media platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
However, LHC Justice Sheikh had turned down the petitioner’s request to grant interim relief by immediately passing directions to restore the internet services.